I appeared on the radio last night. It was a minor appearance. All I had to do was read out three lines of text over the phone, to be recorded and played later. Simple (you would think).
One of the people from the radio station called me. We had a brief chat and then he switched the recorder on. I began to read the lines out, and found that words came tumbling from my mouth at supersonic speed and in no particular order. "Never mind", said the nice man at the other end of the phone, "have another go, maybe a little slower".
I tried again. I spoke more deliberately this time, and though my voice was slower and clearer, it sounded as if I was wholly unfamiliar with the words in front of me or, in fact, any words at all. This was unfortunate, as I had written them.
I had a third attempt. This time the words came out with the correct emphasis and in the correct order. We had another brief chat - I had suddenly regained the ability to talk out loud - and, with a racing heart, and a slightly shaky hand, I hung the phone up. I was relieved that I had avoided sounding like a total imbecile.
A couple of hours later they used the clip. It was a bit mumbly, a bit tense, a bit fast and a bit monotone. I know what I sound like when I'm speaking normally and that isn't it. I didn't mind though, I was happy that it was over and I could relax. It wasn't the best delivery of three lines ever, but it would do. Then a man called Bri McIntosh said it sounded like I had been growling into a bucket.
From this experience I have learned that reading out loud is surprisingly difficult and I will never mock anybody on the radio ever again (well, at least for an afternoon).